Perceptions of initiation instructors and parents on the role of initiation (bogwera le bojale) in character building of adolescents: a case of Mochudi village, Kgatleng district in Botswana.
Ratsie, Semme, Tuelo
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Traditional cultural practices have been given great respect and attention by different communities of the world as they are believed to be sources of values, beliefs, and societal laws that keep a group of people glued together (Matsumoto and Juang, 2013). In many African communities including Botswana, initiation is placed high as a cultural activity that ushers one into a stage of adulthood and therefore regarded as a practice that every young boy and girl must undergo. However, the initiation rite ceased in Mochudi Village, Kgatleng District in 2012 after the paramount chief fled the country into the neighbouring South Africa where he is currently residing. This study was conducted in Mochudi, Kgatleng District in Botswana to describe the perceptions of initiation instructors and parents on the role of initiation in character building of adolescents. The following objectives guided the study; a). To describe the perceptions of initiation instructors and parents on the role of initiation in character building of adolescents. b) To describe the experiences in adolescents’ character that parents have had while raising them in the absence of the initiation rite. c). To explore the variations in character, if any, between boys and girls who went through the initiation rite and those who did not, as perceived by parents and initiation instructors. This study was anchored on the model of ‘Rites de Passage’ translated ‘the Rites of Passage’ by Van Gennep (1960) and the theory of Ecological Systems by Bronfenbrenner which were used to interpret the data as well as explain the underlying causes or influences of the phenomena. The study took a qualitative approach and a phenomenological design to tap into the conscious experiences of the participants. x Twenty (20) participants, ten initiation instructors, and ten parents participated in the study. Perceptions were assessed through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions of both male and female initiation instructors and parents who have had their children (boys and girls) go for the initiation rite. The findings revealed that initiation transforms an individual’s thinking, feeling, and acting, regulating his or her perceptions of reality to conform to that of society, thus initiation can be used as a societal structure to transform and build the characters of adolescents. Therefore, the study recommends that the leadership of Mochudi village deliberate on considerations necessary for the resumption of the initiation school to keep the community glued together. In addition, since initiation rites are an integral part of character building, it is recommended that parents should utilize the societal structure by sending their children to the initiation ‘schools’ to build their character and socialize them to the expectations of society.
The University of Zambia
SubjectInitiation and puberty rites.
Kgatla (African people)--Rites and ceremonies.
- Education